Cal State Monterey Bay President Eduardo Ochoa laid out a blueprint for the university’s future during a ceremony Nov. 15 in which fellow academics, staff and members of the community officially marked his position at the university.
The formal investiture — akin to a presidential swearing-in — came six months after Dr. Ochoa took the position on a permanent basis. Dozens of academic dignitaries in colorful gowns, hoods and mortarboards formed a procession into the World Theater for the event. Its theme was “advancing the vision.”
He is the third president of the 19-year-old campus.
“I join an outstanding university, which began as a remarkable experiment, has blossomed into a national leader in community engagement, and is now poised to help lead the Central Coast region into a thriving, sustainable future,” President Ochoa told the audience.
One of the event’s most poignant moments came when he recounted some of his family history. He talked about how his mother fought to provide the best possible education for him and his brothers. Then, he delivered a message to her – in Mexico – via streaming video. “Cariños, mama, y muchas gracias por todo lo que has hecho por mi.”
After recounting some of the university’s history, he summed up by saying, “Fundamentally, we are an institution dedicated to its students.”
President Ochoa touched on his priorities for the university: strengthening and developing programs to address the needs of agriculture and hospitality; continuing to develop the marine science program; taking a leadership role in improving the educational success of the region’s young people; facilitating research, commercialization and startup formation around new clean technologies and services; and contributing to the cultural life of the community.
And then he looked to the future.
“Ten years from now, I envision CSU Monterey Bay at the heart of a thriving and flourishing community, with 10,000 students . . . I see us acting as a catalyst and intellectual resource for strategic regional economic development.
“And I see us unlocking the tremendous potential of the diversity of our students, staff, faculty and community to achieve inclusive excellence in preparing our graduates for the global, multicultural society that they will live in.”
Dr. Ochoa became interim president of CSUMB in July 2012. His appointment was made permanent by the CSU Board of Trustees in May 2013.
Previously, he served for two years as assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the Obama Administration. In that role, he was chief adviser to the education secretary on higher education.
His extensive background in the CSU system includes serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University; a stint as dean of the College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona; and as a faculty member at Cal State Los Angeles and Fresno State University.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he moved to the United States with his family during his high school years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and philosophy from Reed College, a master’s degree in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University and a doctoral degree in economics from the New School for Social Research.
Fridays’ ceremony was the second of three events tied to President Ochoa’s investiture. On Nov. 12, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the $43 million Business and Information Technology Building. On Nov. 16, more than 400 students, faculty and staff members took part in a day of service and learning, volunteering at 30 sites around the area. President Ochoa visited four of those sites – Cesar Chavez Library, Shoreline Community Garden, Seaside High School and the Village Project – to offer support and encouragement.
Photos by Richard Green
Top: (left to right): CSU Chancellor Timothy White, CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa and CSU Trustee J. Lawrence Norton
Bottom: At the podium, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who delivered the keynote address